Getting an ESTA before Travelling to the United States
The ESTA is an electronic authorization that replaces the visa to travel legally to the United States. Whether it is a business, a tourist or a transit trip to another country, an ESTA is compulsory for any stay less than 90 days in the American territory. Find here how to obtain it in the easiest way.
What is USA ESTA?
It stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and it is a visa waiver. It allows travelers from the 37 concerned countries (including the UK, Iceland, Germany and Italy) to go to the United States without a visa. For a short trip which does not exceed 90 days, a USA ESTA is then mandatory. The aim of this process is firstly to facilitate the access of the travelers into the United States, but also to reinforce the security of the country by making it possible to the local authorities to identify suspect travelers more quickly.
How to Obtain a USA ESTA?
The procedure for obtaining an ESTA is very simple. You just have to find a reliable specialized website and fill an online form. Of course, you need to complete the form with your identity information. You also have to answer to some questions to make sure that your planned American trip will be safe for yourself and for the USA. A valid optical or biometric passport is required. Once again, the stay must not last more than 90 days, and it has to be for a business trip or a tourist trip. Even if you have make a simple stopover in the United States, you still must have a valid ESTA.
When the procedure begins, you are first asked to specify your identity, as well as the information relating to the trip. Then, there is a questionnaire of ten questions to which you have to answer correctly. Those questions are about a possible legal past or potential former trips to the United States. In order to validate your ESTA application, a sum ranging from EUR 12 to 80 must be paid. Then, you will be able to follow the progress of the status of your request. Depending on the case, the response can be immediate or takes 72 hours.
So, it is advisable to submit your ESTA application at least 72 hours before your departure for the United States. In general, printing the ESTA is not necessary, since being electronic it can be verified by the American authorities by a simple scan of the travelers’ passport.